A lot of Iowa broadband providers are counting down the hours until the State of Iowa releases its new maps showing areas eligible for funding under the Iowa Broadband Grant Program. The Iowa OCIO, which administers the program, says the maps will be released on its website sometime on July 1st.
The rules for the next round of broadband grant funding in Iowa (NOFA #006) are already available for review. The new maps will reflect the tiered eligibility that was created by House File 848, passed by the Iowa Legislature this spring and signed by Governor Kim Reynolds. Grant funds will be available for up to 75% of project costs in Tier 1 Targeted Service Areas (TSA's), defined as areas without available internet of at least 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload. Tier 2 areas are defined as those with speeds of 25-50 Mbps download (no upload requirement), and Tier 3 areas are ones with speeds of 50-80 Mbps.
A total of $97,500,000 is available for awards during this round. 20% of the funds are reserved for areas that are considered "difficult to serve" (areas below 25x3, or Tier 1) and the remaining 80% will be available for Tiers 1-3.
The state's prior TSA map, used in the first 5 rounds of grants, only shows areas that were considered unserved under the 25x3 metric, so the new maps will have more areas available for funding.
One interesting fact pointed out by the office during a webinar on June 17th is that the maps will NOT carve out areas that were awarded RDOF funding but that have not been built. So even if an area received RDOF funding (such as large areas of Iowa won by LTD Broadband and AMG), it will still be eligible under this grant round.
The application window for NOFA #006 will also open on July 1st, and operators interested in participating will only have until 5pm on July 28th to submit. That's 4 weeks to identify areas you're interested in, come up with a project cost estimate, and fill out the OCIO's various exhibits as part of the application.
Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa will be the site of a new rural broadband testing site that is being funded by the National Science Foundation and the US Department of Agriculture.
The project was announced by US Ignite, the NSF-led technology non-profit group that will administer the field laboratory. The lab will create a “blanket” of experimental broadband coverage, organizers said, across nearly 600 square miles of central Iowa, including six school districts.
For more information on the project, check out the article at StateScoop
CBAN would like to welcome our 101st member, the Bedford, Iowa Area Chamber of Commerce! The Bedford Chamber has joined as our 29th Community Member.
The community of Bedford in southwest Iowa has struggled to find solutions to its substandard broadband services for years. In 2008, voters in the Taylor County community of 1,400 unanimously approved a referendum to authorize a municipal telecommunications network. That's right, EVERY person voted yes. But despite that overwhelming support community leaders have been unable to put together a plan for a municipal system.
Bedford has recently been working with a nearby independent telecommunications cooperative to extend some fiber services into town, but most citizens are still served by the legacy telephone and cable TV companies.
We hope Bedford's participation in the CBAN community will help them identify a path forward for better broadband!
CBAN is proud to welcome a new Associate Member, VETRO, to our growing network.
VETRO is a software company delivering internet infrastructure intelligence™ through a unique Broadband Intelligence Platform for ISPs, states and local communities under the flagship product VETRO FiberMap. The product suite provides comprehensive program support through a combination of data visualization and project analytics with an integrated fiber network operations software solution and platform environment that enables “end to end” network project analysis, planning, design and management. “It is a pivotal time for broadband infrastructure, especially given the current investments and funding now available,” says Brian Mefford, VETRO Vice President of Broadband Strategy. “Our Broadband Intelligence Platform is purpose-built to facilitate community broadband project planning and implementation.”
Based in Portland, Maine, the VETRO platform is now in use by 42 states and over twenty countries on five continents. “Reliable high-speed internet connectivity is essential,” states Mefford. “We are excited to help communities and providers accelerate broadband expansion with software that powers data-driven decision making to bridge the digital divide.”
VETRO is proud to be a member of CBAN and invites you to learn more at vetrofibermap.com.
Jamestown, a city of around 31,000 in southwest New York state, is beginning to evaluate options for a municipal broadband network.
The first step city leaders are taking is to gauge interest in the concept through a survey while also working on a feasibility study. The community is currently served by Spectrum and Windstream. The city is considering the use of some of its allotment of funds from the American Rescue Act to build the network.
CLICK HERE to read more at the Post-Journal.
CBAN's next Lunch and Learn will feature a panel discussion with representatives of three state broadband programs, discussing the ways that states are taking the lead in bringing better broadband to unserved areas.
We'll be talking about the similarities and differences between the approaches taken by the states of Colorado, Iowa, and Maine when it comes to implementing state broadband programs.
We'll also be using a different platform for the June Lunch and Learn. Rather than using Zoom we'll be webcasting live to the CBAN YouTube channel and the Broadband Bytes Facebook page! You'll be able to watch the stream live and share questions or observations in the comments section of either platform.
Vice President Kamala Harris announced last week that the Biden administration is allocating $1 Billion for grants to expand broadband access and adoption on tribal lands.
Funds will be made available to eligible tribal entities for broadband deployment, digital inclusion programs, workforce development, distance learning, and telehealth.
CLICK HERE to read more at The Verge.
Broadband Bytes News
Presented by the Community Broadband Action Network and curated by Curtis Dean.